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Justine Pila

In contrast to the position under European patent and trademark laws, European copyright and related rights legislation does not currently provide for the exclusion from protection of subject matter that is contrary to morality or public policy. Given the general antipathy that exists to Court of Justice decision-making in the intellectual property field, the criticism generated by the Court’s 2011 decision that human dignity precludes the patenting of any product the preparation of which involves the destruction of a post-fertilization human embryo, and the seeming absurdity of recent suggestions by French public authorities that morality and public policy (ordre public) require burkini-clad beachgoers to undress, the immediate reaction to this position might be relief at being saved the spectacle of the EU exploiting any further opportunity to define the requirements of morality and public policy for its 28 Member States, particularly in a field as important to the creative industries as copyright and related rights. Nonetheless, and as unpopular as existing European social norms and jurisprudence in this area might be, there is a strong case to be made for the introduction of a European morality/public policy exclusion from copyright and related rights. Keywords: Copyright, intellectual property, EU law, morality/public policy, fundamental rights, subject matter exclusions

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Justine Pila